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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Fight Night 162 yesterday in Singapore

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Singapore Indoor Arena in Kallang, Singapore, yesterday (Sat., Oct. 26, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 162. Airing incredibly early in the morning, the event relied largely on its main event to draw in viewers, a match up of expert grapplers Demian Maia and Ben Askren. Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques of the night!

The Best Grappler

The whole tagline for last night’s main event was “who’s the best grappler in the world?” Two grappling specialists with iffy kickboxing skills would throw down, so surely they’d hit the mat early and often.

The issue is that this was still a fight. If one were to force a Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman to compete in a grappling match against Demian Maia, the rule set would determine the winner. In their actual fights, it was the striking and cardio of both men that proved those two elite Welterweights the superior fighters.

Funnily enough, striking and cardio may have proven to be the deciding factor here as well.

Askren did some damage last night with his lunging rights and uppercuts, but his striking fundamentals are terrible, and he ate a lot of left hands to the mid-section and chin. The hurried pace on the feet and some terrific scrambles on the mat left both men tired in the third, but Maia could actually rely on his fundamentals. He kept sticking Askren with his crosses and landing knees to the body. When Askren did return to his wrestling roots, Maia was prepared and quickly swept his opponent.

Having been given no chance to rest — largely because of his own flailing on the feet — Askren could not keep up with a fellow master on the mat. I don’t know that his wrestling or jiu-jitsu is what let him down, because earlier in the bout he scrambled just fine with Maia. By the third, however, Askren was no longer in condition to do so, and he paid the price.

How? Why? Again?!?

Michael Johnson is the opposite of Yoel Romero and Brian Ortega. For some reason, he just falls apart in the third round.

Last night was simply the latest example. The first round was a close-but-clear win for Johnson, whose quick jabs and kicks set the tone early. Both men turned it up in the second, but it was Johnson’s powerful left hand that tore up his opponent’s face and put him in the lead.

That continued in the third, only for Johnson to over-commit to a sprawl and get put on his back with about two minutes remaining. That should not be a death sentence for a longtime veteran, but Ray was almost immediately able to take the back. A minute later, Johnson was flattened out — he was lucky the fight wasn’t stopped due to strikes then.

Ultimately, the judges got this one wrong: Johnson either should’ve picked up the nod on the strength of his first two rounds, or the bout should’ve gone down as a draw. At the same time, it’s frustrating to see this situation play out yet again.

Tricks of the Trade

It’s true that Heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) is all about power, but as a result, tricks and setups become hugely important. While speed and punching form are great, the only way to guarantee a land while definitely making an opponent miss is to thoroughly fool him.

Cyril Gane is really good at such trickery.

In his second UFC bout opposite Don’Tale Mayes, Gane really just flowed around the Octagon and set up power shots brilliantly. He repeatedly made use of big marching steps to suddenly switch stance, often with an immediate power shot to follow. Gane’s Southpaw left kick proved a brutally effective weapon, so the Frenchman began showing the big switch to Southpaw only to instead blast his foe with a right hand mid-transition or stick him with a left.

It was not all flash and deception though. Gane’s fundamentals are there. In this bout, Gane made use of basic kick counters to great effect, swiping the leg by before stepping into a hard hook-cross combination. In addition, Gane’s kickboxing timing has extended to his wrestling, as he was able to perfectly time a few reactive takedowns beneath big swings.

Finally, Gane went for a heel hook in the final 30 seconds. It was completely unnecessary — Gane was sitting in top position and cruising to a clear-cut victory. Yet the hold was well-executed, and it paid off, scoring Gane the first leg lock finish in a Heavyweight UFC fight in (to my memory) quite a few years!

Additional Thoughts

  • Beneil Dariush defeats Frank Camacho via first-round submission: Dariush’s victory last night was simply perfect. He picked apart Camacho for roughly a minute, slamming home left kicks and landing his left hand with smart setups. Then, he took his foe down, jumped on the back, and secured a neck crank. Camacho is no joke on the mat or on the feet, but I don’t know if he landed a single truly significant strike.
  • Sergey Pavlovich defeats Maurice Greene via first-round knockout: Depending on the weight class, the battle of right hand vs. right low kick is more likely to favor the puncher vs. the kicker. At Heavyweight, there’s a pretty clear advantage to the man aiming at the chin — at least barring Pat Barry-types. That’s largely how this fight played out, as Greene looked to kick the leg and effectively did so to an extent. However, he did not quite has his usual height/reach advantage over the Russian, which allowed Pavlovich’s right hand to land more often than he could safely absorb.
  • Loma Lookboonmee defeats Alexandra Albu via unanimous decision: The first Thai athlete to ever make the walk to the Octagon left with a hard-fought victory. Albu was significantly larger and actually managed to land some pretty hard shots, but otherwise, Lookboonmee really showed off her Muay Thai skills. In the clinch, Lookboonmee was particularly effective despite the size disadvantage, as she was able to land some hard knees and slick sweeps and throws.

For complete UFC Fight Night 162: “Maia vs. Askren” results and play-by-play, click HERE!